Faces includes numerous examples of portraiture from a small Renaissance painting to contemporary photography. Revealing the Berman Museum’s rich collection of art’s oldest and most significant genre, Faces brings together more than 50 artworks of little known, or even anonymous artists, alongside well-known artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. There is, nonetheless, more to the exhibition than the mere connection of the human visage; the draw is our unwavering fascination with staring at the image of another person. Whether of a famous person or not, a portrait of virtually anyone is endlessly fascinating.
Before the invention of photography in the mid-19th century, a portrait, typically a painting, was not only rare, it was a luxury to virtually everyone except the wealthy. Today, as we know all too well, portraits are ubiquitous, made by the billions each year on smart phones and posted on the Internet for the world to see. This recent democratization of portraiture will only amplify the importance of the Berman’s historical presentation of portraits, an introduction so to speak, for portraiture’s next iteration.
Because of our collective and continued interest in how we perceive ourselves and others, the continuum of portraiture will endure for centuries to come. New histories of portraiture will undeniably be written by future generations. With the foreseeable changes in technology that lie ahead, those future representations of the human face will be as endlessly varied, and captivating, as the portraits from the Berman’s collection in Faces.